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Author Topic: The Emergent Church  (Read 14027 times)

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Offline Bon Voyage

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The Emergent Church
« on: March 06, 2006, 04:03:59 PM »
I've seen Rob Bell, of Mars Hill Bible Church (an emergent church) plenty of times at corporate worship over the years where my father preaches.  Jeff Manion, a guy who sometimes preaches at Mars Hill, and is the pastor at Ada Bible Church not too far away from Mars Hill, used to belong to the same church planting mission as my folks (don't know if
he is emergent).

I don't know much about MacLaren, except for a few quotes I've read that I find troubling.

Are all these guys on the same page?  Are they all presenting the \"I'm OK, you're OK\" gospel?  Or are their methods different, are they showing love in a way others aren't?

Feel free, if you know more than I do, to share what you know.

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The Emergent Church
« on: March 06, 2006, 04:03:59 PM »

Offline Nevertheless

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The Emergent Church
« Reply #1 on: March 06, 2006, 07:57:16 PM »
What do you mean by \"emergent\"?

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The Emergent Church
« Reply #1 on: March 06, 2006, 07:57:16 PM »

Offline david johnson

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The Emergent Church
« Reply #2 on: March 07, 2006, 03:17:45 AM »
Quote
What do you mean by "emergent"?
a buzzword that isn't too old yet, but will soon join the other cliches.  the last 'emergent church' fan i spoke with didn't comprehend the difference between various learning styles people exhibit and aspects of his new found interest.

i am not one of the e/c fans.
i believe there is a lot of info available for you, though.  the idea may help you & yours.

dj
« Last Edit: March 08, 2006, 03:01:37 AM by david johnson »

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The Emergent Church
« Reply #2 on: March 07, 2006, 03:17:45 AM »

Offline Skip

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The Emergent Church
« Reply #3 on: March 07, 2006, 08:12:58 AM »
In my experience, the 'philosophy or idea', the 'way of thinking', is called \"Post-modernism\".
The believer or church (assembly of believers) that is attempting to follow Post-modern ideas describe themselves as Emergent.
HTH
(Corrections welcome...)

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The Emergent Church
« Reply #3 on: March 07, 2006, 08:12:58 AM »
Pinterest: GraceCentered.com

Offline Lee Freeman

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Re: The Emergent Church
« Reply #4 on: March 07, 2006, 04:26:34 PM »
From Emergent Village's website

http://www.emergentvillage.com/Site/index.htm:


EMERGENT IS …

Emergent is a growing generative friendship among missional Christian leaders seeking to love our world in the Spirit of Jesus Christ.

Our dream is to join in the activity of God in the world wherever we are able, so that God’s dreams for our world come true. In the process, the world can be healed and changed, and so can we.

In English, the word “emergent

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Re: The Emergent Church
« Reply #4 on: March 07, 2006, 04:26:34 PM »



Offline ellisadam

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Re: The Emergent Church
« Reply #5 on: March 08, 2006, 06:19:09 AM »
I posted this last night in a discussion that now seems oddly out of place in the book review section (It's under a thread on how to get a free advance copy of McLaren's new book, if you want to read the whole thing).  Lee Freeman suggested I weigh in here, so I'll start by posting this.  On the other thread I have been asked to provide a bit more clarity, which I will do on this thread when I have a bit more time.  Wednesdays are busy for youth ministers.  Anyway, here's what I posted:
Quote
Ok, I wasn't going to say anything else, but it's getting really frustrating, so I'm back in.  Many of you are simply misrepresenting Emergent/the Emerging Church.  I really don't think you are doing it intentionally, but you are doing it nonetheless.  I have read almost everything written by "Emergent" and have read most of what's critical of it.  I have personally discussed many of these issues with several leaders in the emerging church, including the National Coordinator of Emergent, Tony Jones and also Doug Pagitt.  I'm not dropping names here, I'm just saying that I'm not just speculating or judging simply based on what I've read on the internet.  So, I'm going to offer a couple of observations for whatever they are worth.
a)  I can find absolutly noone who is advocating "postmodern Christianity".  There may be someone, but I haven't found them.  What is being advocated is that some of us engage a changing culture.  What is being suggested is that maybe we don't have to convert people to modernity before we can convert them to Christianity (you know, since there were Christians before the advent of Modernity).  What some of us are wondering is if modernity (which is arguably more humanistic than postmodernity) maybe wasn't the best thing that ever happened to Christianity.
b)  What is being suggested in the emerging church is that while it was quite appropriate for Christianity to engage modernity and take that philosophy "captive for Christ", we make have made a mistake by totally embracing modernity to the point that many feel Christianity is utterly dependent on it.  What I hear being constantly cautioned against in the emerging church is that while can and should take postmodernity "captive for Christ", and while we should and must listen to postmodernity's critique of modernity to untangle it from Christianity, we must NOT make the same mistake that the church made with Modernity.
c)   Leaders in the emerging church are quite clear that they are not calling on everyone to abandon existing church structures.  They are simply asking for support, or at the very least that traditional/modern Christians would focus their energy on reaching the significant part of the population that a modern version of the Gospel can connect with instead of tearing into those of us who are trying to find another way to express the truth in a radically changing culture.
d)  The accusation that the emerging church is presenting an "I'm OK, You're OK" Gospel or that they have an "everybody's in (universalist) ecclesiology is simply false.  What is being questioned is the practice of "motivation by exclusion" that most churches practice.  What many of us are wondering is if belonging to a faith community might actually lead to believing more effectively than doing it the other way around (and may actually be more Biblical).  Read McLaren's new book "The Secret Message of Jesus" when it comes out in April (or just read my reviews of it for the quotes).  He will surprise a great many of his critics on this point.
e)  Postmoernism, as a philosophy/epistemology is still in its embrionic stage.  So far it simply points out the flaws of modernism (deconstruction) and is just beginning to reconstruct an alternative.  It can't be defined yet because it is still in the very early stages of it's development which may/will take hundreds of years.  Even so, many of it's criticisms of modernity are valid and should be headed.  Thank God some are willing to actually consider what this shift means for the Church and for the Gospel rather than hiding their heads in the sand and hoping it will go away.  (It is quite possible that our overcommittment to modernity stems from the fact that the church vacilated between ignoring it and declaring it "evil" and "foreign to the gospel" for years until they realized this was not the case and doing a pendulum swing.)

I need to get back to some other things, but I'm sure I'll be back with more observations later.
AE
AE

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Re: The Emergent Church
« Reply #5 on: March 08, 2006, 06:19:09 AM »

Offline kanham

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Re: The Emergent Church
« Reply #6 on: March 08, 2006, 06:25:02 AM »
This is my response to the above post in the Book Review section.

Ellisadam,

Quote
What is being suggested is that maybe we don't have to convert people to modernity before we can convert them to Christianity

What does that mean? How does that play out? Any examples?

Quote
What is being questioned is the practice of "motivation by exclusion" that most churches practice.

What does this mean? What is motivation by exclusion? Can you explain that? How do you define most churches? Are you specifically talking about the Church of Christ?

Quote
What many of us are wondering is if belonging to a faith community might actually lead to believing more effectively than doing it the other way around

What is the other way around? Where does the other way around happen and how?

My only issue, not knowing if this is directed at me in anyway, is that it is easy to attack the incumbents making claims about how it will be better but no way to find out if that is really true for 50 years so maybe we better go slow since what is being demanded isn’t even defined.

I have read many books and I have been to emergent churches or at least churches that claim to be emergent. I have read their material and talked people who go there. If I thought that these experiences were making people who were more faithful then I would be pushing full force. I have not interviewed or seen anything close to that. They claim to be emergent and they claim to have read the books you talk about too.

I am not trying to be combative but I need more information. I would love for someone to give me more clarity on this discussion because I simply have not been impressed to date.  Sorry, all I have is what I have observed.


Offline marc

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Re: The Emergent Church
« Reply #7 on: March 08, 2006, 06:47:56 AM »
What percentage, what sector of society is currently reached by our approach to Christianity?  Will this percentage increase or decrease in the coming years?

I see the emergent church movement as a searching, as a way of both catching up with the way the language of our culture is changing and anticipating the way it will change.  I think it's an effort to make Christianity relevant in our current world, not only as a way to reach more of those around us, but also as a way to make spirituality more reachable for those among us, those who are living in this changing culture.

There are struggles, of course.  It's a struggle to hold on to eternal truth as part of a culture that views truth differently than we have learned to view it.  The sifting process, the discovery of what needs to be held on to and what needs to be rejected, is a painful one.  Being human, we won't always arrive at the correct answers. 

One thing that's surprised me about this movement, btw, is the way that the leaders are holding on to old forms and finding ways to make the forms relevant in the changing culture.

One reason, I think, that this is all been so controversial is the fear of losing core doctrinal truths.  This is understandable.  I don't know that it's an either/or proposition, though.  A second reason is that how much we are to engage our culture is an open question.  I do think of Paul's words about being all things to all men, and I look at the way Jesus in his teaching and Paul and the others in their writing approached people where they were, in their culture, and while I see a separation as far as holiness is concerned, I do see a recognition that even followers of Christ live in a certain culture and a certain time. 

Me, I'm just a modern who is enough of a child of the sixties that I grew up believing that questioning everything was a good idea.  I haven't read all that's come before on this thread because of my current vision problems (I hope to have the new specs in the next day or two), and dont' know how relevant I'm being to the discussion, but these are my thoughts.

I think it's too early to judge a movement that is only just beginning (and seems to me to have a lot to offer.)

Offline david johnson

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Re: The Emergent Church
« Reply #8 on: March 08, 2006, 06:56:52 AM »
 'modernity (which is arguably more humanistic than postmodernity)'

backwards.

'I think it's too early to judge a movement that is only just beginning (and seems to me to have a lot to offer.)'

they already judged the rest of us.

dj

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Re: The Emergent Church
« Reply #8 on: March 08, 2006, 06:56:52 AM »

Offline Jimbob

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Re: The Emergent Church
« Reply #9 on: March 08, 2006, 07:22:56 AM »
Quote
Quote
What is being questioned is the practice of "motivation by exclusion" that most churches practice.


What does this mean? What is motivation by exclusion? Can you explain that? How do you define most churches? Are you specifically talking about the Church of Christ?



Adam & Phil Wilson address this in episode 2 (Community & Belonging) of their Post Restorationist podcast, which mirrors conversations we've had in our household many times.

Offline ellisadam

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Re: The Emergent Church
« Reply #10 on: March 08, 2006, 07:35:01 AM »
Quote
'modernity (which is arguably more humanistic than postmodernity)'

backwards.
David,  you are welcome to your opinion, but there are many who (not just in the emerging church movment) who would disagree with you.  There are many who would say that part of the reason for the advent of postmodernity is a reaction against the humanism of modernity.  Like I said though, it's arguable.

'
Quote
I think it's too early to judge a movement that is only just beginning (and seems to me to have a lot to offer.)'

they already judged the rest of us.

This is simply not true of the majority of the ec movement or any (that I can find) of it's leaders.  I am quite sure that you can find a few people who self identify as "emergent" who are angry about their traditional upbringing and cast judgment on the traditional church.  However, the overall thrust of the ec movement is, as I said earlier that: 
Quote
Leaders in the emerging church are quite clear that they are not calling on everyone to abandon existing church structures.  They are simply asking for support, or at the very least that traditional/modern Christians would focus their energy on reaching the significant part of the population that a modern version of the Gospel can connect with instead of tearing into those of us who are trying to find another way to express the truth in a radically changing culture.
It is a falicy to assume that just because some choose to do something a different way, that they are judging you as wrong. 
AE
P.S.  jmg3rd, thanks for plugging our podcast.

Offline johntwayne

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Re: The Emergent Church
« Reply #11 on: March 08, 2006, 09:07:18 AM »
Well, my gift is in the area of taking complicated things and stating them simply so I will give it a stab....

To understand what "emergent" and "post-modernism" are we have to understand what modernism is/was.

Modernism is/was the spirit that has basically ruled for the last 250 years.   It is the idea that man, through science, knowledge and reason, can solve his most fundamental problems.  We have, based on that idea, made some terrific leaps in science and knowledge but instead of these solving our most fundamental problems we are finding that our new knowldge and science may even be exasperating our most fundamental problems.

Post-modernism is simply a term used to describe people who see the flaw in modernism and are searching for another view.  There are a lot of alternatives being offerred.

The "Emergent" movement is a Christian form of Post-Modernism and like Post-Modernism it really doesn't know yet what it is.  It just rejectes modernism and affirms that the answer to it is found in Christ, Christianity, Church, or similar ideas.  Its not entirely sure or agreed yet on just how these are the answer to modernism.

Offline Nevertheless

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Re: The Emergent Church
« Reply #12 on: March 08, 2006, 08:26:32 PM »
Lee, thanks for the definitions.  Unfortunately, though I read the whole post carefully, what I heard was something like:  "Blah, blah, blah,  “emerging postmodernism

Offline ellisadam

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Re: The Emergent Church
« Reply #13 on: March 09, 2006, 07:46:28 AM »
Quote
So how can people promote a philosophy if they don't know what it is, and why would anyone be persuaded to adopt it?

Nevertheless,
It's becoming clear to me that maybe this is the heart of the misunderstanding about the emerging church movement/conversation.  Emergent is not trying to pursuade people to adopt postmodernism.  It is not trying to encourgage churches to become "postmodern churches" or Christians to become "postmodern Christians".  Postmodernity is a philisophical and cultural shift in the way people "come to know things" that is taking place in the culture at large.  It is in it's early stages, but it is catching, particularly in younger generations.  Because it's in it's early stages, it is, of course caught up in deconstructing what came before it (modernity), which is why it has a clunky, silly sounding name like "post-modernity".  This is not something that people are trying to "convert" others to.  It is something that is developing all on its own.  What some of us are trying to figure out is, what is the church going to look like?  How are we going to accurately and effectively communicate the Gospel, when the old ways of "coming to know things" don't communicate the same way anymore?  (this most certainly does not mean that the old ways are "wrong", "bad", or even "stupid".)  What you will find if you look is that many of us in the EC movement/conversation either are or were Youth Ministers.  The reason for this is that we see this stuff first and are having to change our methodology and how we even construct our arguments because what once communicated, now just doesn't with many people.  So, it's experimental in many ways.  It's often confusing, and sometimes scary.  But, for many of us, it's where we must go as a matter of faithfulness to God, the Gospel, and our Calling.
AE

Offline Lee Freeman

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Re: The Emergent Church
« Reply #14 on: March 09, 2006, 08:39:20 AM »
Lee, thanks for the definitions.  Unfortunately, though I read the whole post carefully, what I heard was something like:  "Blah, blah, blah,  “emerging postmodernism
« Last Edit: March 09, 2006, 08:41:52 AM by Lee Freeman »